The Japanese and Their Toilets

From today’s soothing New York Times op-ed about toilets:

“There’s a beautiful, beautiful goddess in the toilet. Clean it every day, and you’ll be beautiful like the goddess.”
So sings Kana Uemura, her rich, melodious voice soaring in the ode to her deceased grandmother.

The song, an unusually long ballad called “God of Toilet,” has nearly nine million hits on YouTube and is posted below. But first, a few more highlights from the piece.

According to a government survey, more than 70 percent of Japanese households have a high-tech toilet, commonly called a Washlet.

A friend’s toilet recently greeted me with a beam of light emerging from the back of the bowl, creating a sparkling view of the water while functioning as a night lamp.

And good evening to you.

[W]hen my friends and I talk about life overseas, we cite the lack of Washlets as one of the hardship factors.

In a questionnaire from my son’s elementary school asking the children what made them nervous during a home-stay program in Australia, one of the replies was, “the toilet water flushed in a different direction from Japan.”

When I found out that the pre-installed Washlet in my apartment did not come with a warm-air function that blow-dries the bottom after its shower, I called customer service to see if I could get the feature as an add-on. I was soon in a discussion with a young woman about whether bits of toilet paper would remain on a wet behind without the hot blast. She offered, “I use a Washlet every morning without warm air, but I don’t have anything sticking.”

The article then moves on to discuss toilet ghosts.

Photo via Juliation